Saturday, April 20, 2024

Madonna Sued over 1990 Hit “Vogue”–Producer/Writer Will Know the Answer


Poor Madonna! What a year she’s having. Madonna is being sued 22 years after her hit song, “Vogue,” came out. Apparently new computer programs can detect samples hidden in records. Both “Vogue” and a 1977 disco record by the Salsoul Orchestra were each written and produced by Richard “Shep” Pettibone. (Madonna helies heavily, let’s say, on collaborators.)  If that name sounds familiar it’s because in addition to working with Madonna, Pettibone remixed almost all the records of the late 80s and early 90s. That’s why so many of them sound the same. But early in his career he worked with Salsoul Records and the self named group.

Salsoul Orchestra was the kind of thing that disco haters really hated in the late 70s. It was like soft funk mixed with soft jazz and then whipped into a smooth frappe that made you gag while you desperately hunted out the Clash, the Jam or Elvis Costello. Anyway, I digress. Seems Pettibone is accused of pulling some old horns and strings off of a Salsoul hit called “Ooh (I Love It)” and burying them in “Vogue” to give it its propulsion. Frankly, the original record by SalSoul sounds like it borrowed from Van McCoy’s “The Hustle.” Now everyone who worked with Pettibone — and the list is long, long long– should go back and see what he hid in their records. He remixed a lot of Janet Jackson’s and the Pet Shop Boys’  hit records. But I’d start by analyzing Pettibone’s Madonna contributions:

Madonna – Where’s the Party (1986)
Madonna – Into the Groove (1985)
Madonna – Causing a Commotion (1987)
Madonna – Like a Prayer (1989)
Madonna – Express Yourself (1989)
Madonna – Keep it Together (1990)
Madonna – Vogue (1990)
Madonna – Justify My Love (1990)
Madonna – Rescue Me (1991)
Madonna – Erotica (1992)
Madonna – Deeper and Deeper (1992)
Madonna – This Used to Be my Playground (1992)
Madonna – Bad Girl (1993)
Madonna – Fever (1993)
Madonna – Rain (1993)

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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